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Stapleton, Lambert, Underwood and Vegas win at ACM Awards

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  • The 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards marked a memorable night for the victims of the massive Las Vegas shooting, comeback queen Carrie Underwood and triple-winners Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert.

    Jason Aldean paid tribute to the 58 people who died at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last October when he was named entertainer of the year Sunday for the third consecutive time.

    “It’s been a rough year,” Aldean said, thanking those “that showed us love and support over the last six months.”

    The ACMs brought the country music community back to Vegas six months after the deadly tragedy. Aldean was performing onstage when the shooting occurred.

    “You guys are in our hearts always,” Aldean said. “We love Las Vegas. Vegas strong.”

    Though Aldean beat out Stapleton for the top honour, Stapleton’s Sunday was met with many high points: His wife, Morgane, gave birth to twin boys; he celebrated his 40th birthday; and the leading nominee, who didn’t attend the show, won male vocalist of the year and album of the year, where he won twice as a singer and producer.

    Underwood also had a big night, returning to the stage like an A-List veteran in her first television appearance since injuring her face and wrist last year due to a fall at her home. Her powerhouse vocals shined when she performed her new song, “Cry Pretty,” earning a rousing — and long — standing ovation from the audience.

    Immediately following the performance, she won vocal event of the year for the dance-infused country song, “The Fighter,” with Keith Urban.

    “I am still kind of shaking right now,” she added, appearing teary-eyed.

    “Seeing her stand up there and be so beautiful, she’s one of the greatest singers of all-time in any genre of music,” Lambert said backstage of Underwood. “I am just proud of her and I know how strong she is and how hard she’s worked.”

    But Lambert’s hard work also paid off: She made history when she surpassed Brooks and Dunn as the most decorated act in ACM history with 32 wins on Sunday. Lambert won her ninth consecutive female vocalist of the year trophy and won twice for song of the year — as the performer and co-writer of “Tin Man.”

    “I cannot believe this. I really can’t. …I love country music. It’s my entire life,” Lambert said onstage. “I will never ever take it for granted.”

    Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard wore an all-red ensemble and Brian Kelley was in all-white when they hit the stage with pop singer Bebe Rexha to perform the massive hit “Meant to Be,” which is spending its 19th week on top of Billboard’s Hot country songs chart. It ties Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By” as the third longest-running song of all-time on the chart.

    The longest-running No. 1 song of all-time on the country charts, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” won single record of the year at the ACMs; Hunt didn’t attend the show.

    Little Big Town sang Elton John’s “Rocket Man” in celebration of the icon’s new album, “Restoration,” which features country singers covering his songs. Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina were impressive when they sang their duet, “What Ifs.” Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Kelsea Ballerini, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley also performed.

    McEntire, who performed with Kelly Clarkson, hosted the three-hour show a year after Bryan and Bentley did the job.

    “It takes one woman to do the job of two men,” she said, earning a rousing applause.

    Old Dominion won vocal group of the year, besting Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum.

    “This is heavy in a lot of ways,” lead singer Matthew Ramsey said, holding the trophy in his hand.

    “We’re so lucky. Look at us, look at us!” he said about his bandmates, all dressed in trendy suits. “We look good. We feel good. We’re friends. And we’re having a ball.

    “Thank you for letting us make music.”

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    Associated Press Writer Kristin M. Hall contributed to this report.

    _____

    Online:

    http://www.acmcountry.com/

    Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press


































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    Newfoundland celebrities roast town for rejecting rainbow crosswalk

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  • SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Prominent Newfoundlanders are criticizing a town’s rejection of a rainbow crosswalk sought by a high school group as a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

    Comedian Mark Critch and former Great Big Sea members Alan Doyle and Bob Hallett offered support for the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Indian River High School after Springdale, N.L., town council reportedly voted 4-3 against the crosswalk.

    “If you’re a LBGTQ kid in Springdale, please know that there are a whole lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador that support you,” tweeted Critch, anchor of CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

    “Inclusion never divides. Your mayor is being a tool. You’re awesome.”

    Doyle, a successful solo artist and best-selling author, responded to Critch’s tweet saying “Yes. Yes. And Yes.”

    Hallett, a St. John’s restaurateur, said he was “half tempted to drive out to Springdale and paint the crosswalk” himself in a tweet Friday morning.

    The Norwester newspaper reported that the GSA had asked that a crosswalk near the school could be painted in support of the LGBTQ community.

    Springdale town councillors refused to comment Friday. But the school’s GSA issued a written statement via email that the council’s rejection of its April 9 request isn’t the end of the story.

    It said they are in the process of working together on the issue, which will come before council again on Monday.

    It said members appreciate the public’s support but “negative comments and name-calling are not productive,” and said the group is committed to a “respectful, informed discussion for the betterment” of the whole community.

    “We enjoy our town of Springdale and have a good relationship with the mayor and town officials. We are ALL in the process of working together on this issue and are encouraged by the opportunity for further discussions,” the group said.

    “Thus far, those discussions have been very positive and we look forward to Monday’s council meeting, where we will have the opportunity to provide further information and education to members on the concept of a rainbow crosswalk.”

    Cheryl Gullage, communications director for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said in a phone interview that the association is reserving further comment until after the matter is discussed with town officials.

    Earlier this spring, city council in Merritt, B.C., rejected a similar request from high school groups there. Community members subsequently offered other locations for the colourful symbol of inclusion.

    The Canadian Press


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    Avicii, DJ-producer who performed around the world, dies

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  • NEW YORK — Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio, died Friday. He was 28.

    Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the Swedish performer, born Tim Bergling, was found dead in Muscat, Oman.

    “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” the statement read. “The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”

    No more details about the death were provided. Oman police and state media had no immediate report late Friday night on the artist’s death.

    Avicii was an international pop star, performing his well-known electronic dance songs around the world for die-hard fans, sometimes hundreds of thousands at music festivals, where he was the headline act. His popular sound even sent him to the top of the charts and landed onto U.S. radio: His most recognized song, “Wake Me Up,” was a multi-platinum success and peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. On the dance charts, he had seven Top 10 hits.

    But in 2016, the performer announced he was retiring from the road, but continued to produce songs and albums.

    Avicii was part of the wave of DJ-producers, like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia, who broke out on the scene as lead performers in their own right, earning international hits, fame, awards and more like typical pop stars.

    He earned his first Grammy nomination at the 2012 show — for a collaboration with Guetta. It around the time he gained more fan for the Etta James-sampled dance jam, “Le7els,” which reached No. 1 in Sweden.

    Avicii continued to collaborate with more high-profile acts, producing Madonna’s “Devil Pray” and the Coldplay hits “A Sky Full of Stars” and “Hymn for the Weekend.”

    Avicii had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he cancelled a series of shows in attempt to recover.

    “It’s been a very crazy journey. I started producing when I was 16. I started touring when I was 18. From that point on, I just jumped into 100 per cent,” Avicii told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “When I look back on my life, I think: whoa, did I do that? It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price – a lot of stress a lot of anxiety for me – but it was the best journey of my life.”

    Last year, he posted this message on his website, promising to keep creating: “The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new.”

    Fans and members of the music community mourned his death on social media Friday.

    “Something really horrible happened. We lost a friend with such a beautiful heart and the world lost an incredibly talented musician,” Guetta wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for your beautiful melodies, the time we shared in the studio, playing together as djs or just enjoying life as friends. RIP @avicii.”

    Calvin Harris called Avicii “a beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do.” Ellie Goulding wrote that Avicii “inspired so many of us. Wish I could have said that to you in person.”

    One Direction’s Liam Payne and Dua Lipa also tweeted about the performer.

    Avicii, a two-time Grammy nominee, won two MTV Europe Music Awards and one Billboard Music Award. His death comes just days after he was nominated for a 2018 Billboard Music Award for top dance/electronic album for his EP “Avicii (01).”

    Avicii is the subject of the 2017 Levan Tsikurishvil documentary “Avicii: True Stories.”

    Muscat, where Avicii died, is the capital of the sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, is a popular vacation destination on the Arabian Sea.

    ___

    AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy and AP Writer Jon Gambrell contributed to this report.

    Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press







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